Everton 3 Burnley 1
Burnley were unable to stop Everton’s Goodison Park charge as the fast-finishing Toffees made it eight successive home league wins.
The Clarets gave as good as they got for an hour with one of their most positive away performances of a season that is yet to yield a victory on the road.
But after Sam Vokes had cancelled out Phil Jagielka’s opening goal with a coolly taken penalty early in the second half, two goals inside four minutes via a deflection off Ben Mee and the lethal left foot of Romelu Lukaku gave Everton the win that lifted them into the Premier League’s top five.
The in-form Toffees were looking for the victory that would equal their best home run since 1990 as they pursued a place in European football for next season.
Lukaku’s personal record had already exceeded that stretch, with the Premier League’s leading marksman having found the net in his last eight Goodison appearances.
But the Clarets, having kept clean sheets in three of their previous four games, did a fine job of keeping the powerhouse striker in check during a first half where his only effort was an early shot at Tom Heaton as the best chances came Burnley’s way.
Michael Keane, fresh from his nomination alongside Lukaku on the PFA’s Young Player of the Year Award shortlist, saw a header cleared off the line by Ross Barkley from a Robbie Brady corner.
And Sam Vokes, recalled in place of Andre Gray, then had two opportunities within a couple of minutes just after the half-hour mark to repeat the goal he scored in a 2-1 win over the Toffees at Turf Moor in October.
Joey Barton, facing the club where he started his career, released the striker with a ball over the top which Vokes latched onto but couldn’t steer past Joel Robles, who saved with his chest.
And Vokes then intercepted a back-pass from Phil Jagielka but lacked the finish to beat Robles as his low shot was too close to the grateful Spaniard, who saved comfortably.
That summed up the Clarets’ approach as they pressed the home side to great affect and looked dangerous going forward.
But Everton countered with a decent spell just before the break, sparked by a chance for Mason Holgate whose low shot through a crowd of players was bottom-corner bound until Heaton, celebrating his 31st-birthday, made an excellent save low down to his right.
Kevin Mirallas also saw a free-kick deflected just over the bar via the head of George Boyd and Everton kept up the momentum straight after the re-start as they went ahead in the 49th-minute.
Heaton had saved from substitute Enner Valencia but Everton kept the Clarets penned in and when they won a corner, the ball was flicked on for Jagielka to head home his third goal in as many games off the inside of a post.
That was a blow for the Clarets following their earlier efforts but within two minutes Sean Dyche’s men were level at 1-1 via the penalty spot as they responded superbly.
The initial chance looked to have gone when Vokes couldn’t quite a touch to Jeff Hendrick’s fine pass but Vokes was then flattened by Robles as he chased the loose ball.
The Wales international took responsibility and sent Robles the wrong way to claim his eighth goal of the season and first since his winner against Leicester City at the end of January.
It was now end-to-end stuff as both sides went all-out for the win and Mirallas twice had chances to put the Merseysiders back in front.
The first produced a weak finish after he was played in by Barkley and the Belgium international then scuffed another effort but saw the ball bounce back to him for an angled shot he struck against a post.
But following the controversy that had surrounded Barkley in the build-up to the game it was almost inevitable that he would have a big say in the outcome.
And with 19 minutes to go his deflected shot went in off a combination of Keane and then Ben Mee to restore Everton’s lead.
Barkley was booked for milking the celebration and the home fans were off their feet again three minutes later when Lukaku banked the points.
The big Belgian had got little joy out of Burnley’s back four but in a flash of magic he spun away from Keane from a Leighton Baines pass and drove a shot past Heaton before the Clarets’ captain had chance to move.
It was Lukaku’s 24th league goal of the season as he became the first Everton player since the legendary Dixie Dean to score in nine successive home league games.
With Vokes picking up a knock, Burnley introduced both Gray and Dan Agyei to provide fresh legs in the pursuit of a comeback.
But the nearest they came to a goal was a Stephen Ward header again cleared off the line by Barkley as Dyche’s side frustratingly finished empty-handed to slip a couple of places to 14th in the table.
Burnley: Heaton, Lowton, Keane, Mee, Ward; Boyd, Barton, Hendrick (Westwood 86), Brady, Vokes (Gray 73), Barnes (Agyei 83). Substitutes: Pope, Flanagan, Tarkowski, Defour, Westwood.
Everton: Robles, Holgate, Jagielka, Williams, Baines, Gueye (Valencia ht), Schneiderlin, Mirallas (Barry 75), Barkley (Lookman 91), Davies, Lukaku. Substitutes: Stekelenburg, Calvert-Lewin, Pennington, Kenny.
Booked: Gueye, Barkley
Referee: Mark Clattenburg